17th– 20th January

 

Participants

Jonathan Barnard

David Percival

 

Guide

Mladen Vasilev

 

David Percival and I went on this short break, organised by Neophron, to see the spectacular sight of wintering Red-breasted Geese in the east of Bulgaria. The largest flock that we saw was of about 3,000 birds. These geese were usually to be found in the company of larger flocks of Greater White-fronted Geese.

For two mornings we took up our position on Lake Durankulak to watch the birds leaving their roost and flying to their feeding grounds, the White-fronts beginning the movement and the Red-breasts starting once the bulk of these had left. Following a pre-dawn start in -15C we were glad to call into a lakeside restaurant for a bowl of warming fish soup at about 10.30 on one of the mornings.

 

Apart from the geese, other highlights of the trip were the Rough-legged Buzzards, sometimes over half a dozen in a morning and also the large flocks of Corn Buntings (up to 300+) that occurred throughout the countryside – a sight lost to us in much of England. Also, a flock of 40 Woodlarks at Cape Kaliakra was a nice find.

A Great Black-headed (Pallas’s) Gull flying in close by provided great views.

 

Bays along the Black Sea often contained large mixed flocks, numbering several hundred of Red-crested Pochard, Coot and Black-necked Grebes together with a smattering of other wildfowl.

 

Lake Durankulak held all three swan species together with a few Goldeneye, Smew and Ferruginous Ducks.

 

 

 

 

SPECIES

SIGHTINGS

 

NOTES

 

 

 

 

 

1

Greater White-fronted Goose

10

 

Thousands seen

2

Greylag Goose

2

 

About 23

3

Red-breasted Goose

6

 

 

4

Mute Swan

4

 

 

5

Bewick's Swan

1

 

4 birds

6

Whooper Swan

5

 

60 plus

7

Gadwall

2

 

 

8

Eurasian Wigeon

2

 

 

9

Mallard

6

 

 

10

Red-crested Pochard

6

 

 

11

Common Pochard

3

 

 

12

Ferruginous Pochard

1

 

 

13

Tufted Duck

3

 

 

14

Common Eider

1

 

A single female at Cape Kaliakra

15

Common Goldeneye

1

 

 

16

Smew

1

 

 

17

Red-breasted Merganser

1

 

 

18

Grey Partridge

1

 

Largest group of 11 birds

19

Great Crested Grebe

4

 

 

20

Black-necked Grebe

5

 

 

21

Great Cormorant

2

 

 

22

European Shag

5

 

 

23

Pygmy Cormorant

3

 

 

24

Grey Heron

1

 

 

25

Eurasian Marsh Harrier

4

 

 

26

Hen Harrier

6

 

 

27

Eurasian Sparrowhawk

4

 

 

28

Rough-legged Buzzard

5

 

 

29

Common Buzzard

11

 

including one Steppe Buzzard

30

Eurasian Coot

9

 

 

31

Sanderling

1

 

 

32

Black-headed Gull

1

 

 

33

Little Gull

1

 

 

34

Great Black-headed Gull

1

 

An individual with fully black head flew by very close on the Black Sea coast opposite Lake Durankulak

35

Common Gull

5

 

 

36

Yellow-legged Gull

10

 

 

37

Caspian Gull

5

 

 

38

Feral Pigeon

6

 

 

39

Stock Dove

3

 

 

40

Common Wood Pigeon

1

 

 

41

Eurasian Collared Dove

8

 

 

42

Northern Long-eared Owl

1

 

A group of 8 roosting in Ezerets village square

43

Great Spotted Woodpecker

1

 

 

44

Syrian Woodpecker

1

 

 

45

Eurasian Kestrel

4

 

 

46

Peregrine Falcon

1

 

 

47

Great Grey Shrike

1

 

 

48

Eurasian Jay

4

 

 

49

Eurasian Magpie

15

 

 

50

Rook

1

 

 

51

Hooded Crow

2

 

 

52

Crested Lark

1

 

 

53

Eurasian Skylark

8

 

 

54

Woodlark

2

 

A group of over 40 at Cape Kaliakra

55

Blue Tit

1

 

 

56

Great Tit

7

 

 

57

Wren

2

 

 

58

Goldcrest

1

 

 

59

Eurasian Blackbird

6

 

 

60

Fieldfare

3

 

 

61

Redwing

3

 

 

62

European Starling

13

 

 

63

Dunnock

1

 

 

64

Meadow Pipit

1

 

 

65

Yellowhammer

1

 

 

66

Reed Bunting

8

 

 

67

Corn Bunting

7

 

 

68

Chaffinch

8

 

 

69

Brambling

5

 

 

70

Eurasian Siskin

2

 

 

71

European Goldfinch

6

 

 

72

Eurasian Linnet

1

 

 

73

Hawfinch

1

 

 

74

House Sparrow

5

 

 

75

Eurasian Tree Sparrow

2